Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brussels Sprouts - Another Delicious Brassica

The Brassica family includes some of my favorites like cauliflower and cabbage as well as Brussels sprouts.  I feel like Brussels sprouts are severely unappreciated because they are most often overcooked causing them to have a bitter, sulfurous taste.  It's a shame, because they can be quite delicious when prepared well.  They are in season from December to June in California and Mexico and you'll see them in the supermarkets for a good price then.  They are best however if you can find them grown locally just after the first frost when they seem to be a touch sweeter than usual.

They are called Brussels sprouts because it is thought that they were first cultivated in the 1200's where the country of Belgium is now.  The cool climate of that part of the world suits them.  Each bud, what we call a sprout, grows on long stalks that can grow up to several feet in height.  They are high in vitamin C and K, are thought to have cancer fighting qualities, and are a good source of dietary fiber.

My favorite way of cooking Brussels sprouts is to roast them. To begin, tear off the outer leaves and trim the tough parts of the stems off with a pairing knife.  Make a small "x" in the bottom of each sprout so that they cook evenly.  Toss them with a good fruity olive oil and plenty of salt in a bowl and roast them in a 450˚ oven for about 20 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the sprouts.  You'll notice that they will start to brown and shrink a bit as they are just finished.  They should be fork tender before serving.  Finish with fresh black pepper.  If you like, you can also top them off with some crispy bacon bits or some chopped nuts just before serving.  They are the perfect accompaniment to just about any hearty winter meal, or are delicious in salads.

If you are a Brussels sprout hater, give them another shot.  If you treat them with a little love, you're sure to have a delicious and healthy result.  I love eating them during the winter, and they are a terrific green vegetable for times when the pickings are pretty slim otherwise.


  1. oh wow, that does sound incredible. i am going to try these tonite. your blog is wonderful. Keri (a.k.a. Sam)

  2. thanks for reading. i hope your sprouts turn out well.

  3. exactly how I cook and eat my sprouts. like minds...